Jane-Emily by Patricia Clapp | Book Review

jane-emily

Jane-Emily is a short Young Adult horror/ghost novel about a little girl named Jane who goes to spend a summer at her grandmother’s house with her Aunt Louisa, whose also the narrator of the story. A girl named Emily who died at a young age previously lived in the house and unlike Jane she was a selfish, spoiled girl. Emily still lingers in the house and Jane can feel her, Emily also has some terrible plans for the girl.

This book was apparently out of print for awhile and now it’s back due to popular demand. Well I wasn’t alive when it was popular and I heard about it through recommendation. I thought the premise sounded cool and I love ghost stories when their done right. Was Jane-Emily done right? Kind of but overall I was a bit disappointed.

The build up was good, but the ending it built up to was disappointing. It ended way too quickly for me, I just didn’t feel satisfied. Still, it’s far from a terrible book I wasn’t bored while reading and there were some good scenes. The characters were decent even though I can’t say they were that memorable or anything. Emily was pretty interesting and the best times were learning more and more about her.

So in the end I wish it would of just wrapped things up better. 3/5

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Joyride by Jack Ketchum| Book Review

joyride

Spoiler-ish.

Joyride is about a woman named Carole and her lover Lee who end up murdering her abusive ex-husband as an act of desperation. A death-obsessed man named Wayne witnesses the act and hopes to commit more murders with them.

The two protagonists of the novel don’t have a really good plan when it comes to murdering Carole’s ex-husband. The whole set up seemed extremely sloppy. Basically the plan is: Bludgeon him to death with a bat on a hiking trail and make it look like a hiking accident. They do a very poor job. Especially since the ex-husband puts up a fight.

Both of them have a lot to lose, so I would have thought they would have come up with a more full-proof plan. Not to mention, Carole is friends with an officer that checks up on her every now and then (because of the past issues with her ex-husband). So, that is one of the glaring issues with the novel.

I also didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between the two leads. And if their willing to commit a murder together, I would think that they would have a more intense relationship. In fact, at times they hardly seem into each other. Maybe this was intentional but I still didn’t like it.

Then we have Wayne, the antagonist. He’s a man who feels intense excitement for the act of murder. He comes close to strangling his girlfriend but before that it seems he never built up the courage to go through with killing a person.

That is until he witnesses Carole and Lee. He’s impressed that they’re able to murder someone. He even covers up the body better for them. Eventually he finds the two of them and wants to go on a killing spree with them. Not surprisingly, they aren’t into it.

Next comes the series of murders. Wayne seems to want to abandon their normal lives in order to go on a road-trip style killing spree. However, he soon realizes that Carole and Lee do not want to be his friends and so he turns on them.

Wayne is the most interesting character in the book – from a psychological stand point. Especially when something very creepy about his mother is reviled. The sections of the book inside his head were the best. He incites a certain level of sympathy (but only a little), and I like when writers do that with the bad guy.

Joyride has a few flaws but it’s a good book. At times, I felt it didn’t go as far as it could have gone but it was a satisfying read in the end.

3.5/5

 

Let’s Go Play At the Adams’ by Mendal Johnson | Underrated Horror Book

the-adams

Let’s Go Play At the Adams’ is a horror novel about a babysitter named Barbara who is kidnapped and held captive by a group of kids whose parents are away. While Barbara is completely helpless and afraid the kids have many awful things in store for her. That’s the basics of the plot and before reading I was expecting just a non-stop torture and gorefest. In fact that’s exactly what I was looking for so I went in with high hopes. But the book turned out to be a lot more than that.

There is torture, of course but not much gore. And that’s fine because the most terrifying thing about this book is the psychology of the kids and Barbara’s fear. It’s told in third person omniscient so the reader gets to see the thoughts and feelings of all characters. It’s very well written and one of the best horror stories that I have read.

It’s also insanely underrated. Most people seem to have completely forgotten about this great book, except for a few horror fans that is. It seems to be out of print and I had to get a copy from one of the libraries in my state. I really want to own a copy of my own, it would be great on my bookshelf. However, the used copies on Amazon their selling are about $40 and up, no way I’m paying forty dollars for a single book.

Despite sadly not owning my own copy, I feel like this novel is a real treasure. It was the author’s one and only novel and there doesn’t seem to be much information on him.  I know it was published in the 70s but I wish it would somehow get more attention than it does. It’s not just some cheap horror book that gives you a quick scare, it actually stay with you. At least, that’s how it was for me.

Let’s Go Play at the Adams’ was possibly inspired by the Sylvia Likens case. There are some similarities due to the fact it involves suburban kids terrorizing someone. Although In the book there’s no adult leading them. A fairly well known horror book inspired by the case is The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum which I have read and own a copy. The two books can easily be compared.

So when I compare the two I definitely enjoy Mendal Johnson’s book a lot more. In fact despite all the praise it gets from many horror fans, I didn’t like Ketchum’s novel that much. It’s still good and definitely a page turner but it wasn’t as shocking or as terrifying as I expected…it just wasn’t deep enough for me. The narrator was annoying and maybe that was intentional but the book just wasn’t what I wanted it to be.

Adams’ on the other hand wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be but it was definitely something I wanted.

Rob Zombie’s 31 | Movie Review

31

31 follows a group of carnies who are forced to play a deadly game. They must survive for 12 hours as they’re pursued by the various clown-like “heads” that are trying to kill them in a hellish makeshift maze.

The desire I had to see this film was overwhelming. I like most of Rob Zombie’s movies (really, the only one I don’t like is Lords of Salem) Well I finally got to see it….and did it live up to my expectations?

Pretty much yes, although I didn’t think reached its full potential in some aspects, I wasn’t disappointed and I enjoyed the movie.

I think viewers that previously enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects will like this movie – it has elements of both. However, for those that hate RZ films 31 certainly isn’t going to change their mind. You’ll find his typical tropes everywhere, and for those that like them this movie is for you.

I liked the idea and overall setting for the movie, I thought most of the characters were pretty cool. Sheri Moon Zombie’s look was great – I like the poofy hair.

Antagonist-wise, Doomhead was particularly awesome and I felt that he was the best part. It was exciting to everything unfold and see who the protagonists had to face next.

However, I did have my issues – most of the “heads” weren’t giving the protagonists much of a challenge. It seemed to me like they were taken out way too quickly. I don’t know, might have been editing issues. This was probably my only glaring problem with the movie.

Overall, I really liked 31. And the ending was so epic.

4/5

The Neon Demon (2016) | Movie Review

neon-demon

The Neon Demon follows a young girl named Jesse as she tries to become a model. Despite not being in the modeling business long she quickly begins to show promise, much to the dismay of the models that have been in the business longer. As their jealousy grows it’s clear they might just end up doing something drastic.

My thoughts on The Neon Demon are a bit strange. I mean, I think I liked it but I’m having trouble forming an opinion. Well, I’ll do my best.

The movie is pretty slow, not just story wise but it seems like the conversations and many of the scenes just move at a snail’s pace.

If you heard about this movie and are expecting a gorefest I don’t think you’d like it… everything builds up to one weird, climatic moment. However, there Is a consistently creepy atmosphere throughout the film, and some scenes are downright amazing.

I also thought Elle Fanning’s performance was really good – it seemed like she was really into the character of Jesse. She’s this eerie tragic beauty, and I could see why certain characters in the movie became obsessed with her.

In the end, I think The Neon Demon is pretty good but the problem is that I feel like its missing something. It should have done more but I can’t really explain what. Still, it’s a solid movie.

3.5/5

My Top 15 Favorite Horror Movies

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I have pretty big passion for horror movies, and since Halloween is coming up I decided to make a little list. Some of these are common choices while others are not. I have plenty of other horror movies I like but these are undeniably the ones near the top. The list is in no particular order though. Enjoy.

House of 1000 Corpses (2003)house-of-1000-corpses-dvd-41921f

 

A lot of people seem to dislike this movie (although, it does have a following), but I love it more than words can describe. Sure it’s a mishmash of homages and doesn’t have perfect storytelling or anything. But it’s fun. I love the characters of Otis, Baby and Spaulding. Rob Zombie basically made a fun film that only seems to vibe with certain people and that’s ok. And the funny thing is, I wasn’t a Zombie fan before seeing this movie so there was no bias. In fact, I started listening to his music after seeing this awesome film.

The Devil’s Rejects (2005) devils-rejects

Despite technically being a sequel, The Devil’s Rejects stands on its own. This film is close to a masterpiece. It’s less cartoonish than House of 1000 corpses but with Otis, Capt. Spaulding and Baby it still keeps that fun element. But “Rejects” is also amazingly brutal. In the end, with this film Zombie showed just how great a filmmaker he can be.

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) large_zvjvnrks5eyxrvhppurovjnliml

 

It has two of my favorite subjects in horror (they occasionally go hand-in-hand)—witches and Satan! Rosemary’s Baby is a great slow-burning movie that builds up to one of the best conclusions in movie history.

Halloween (1978) halloween_1978_theatrical_poster

Halloween is a movie that fills me with intrigue. I mean, I just want to analyze the heck out of it. (and I already have a few times) Halloween is just one of the horror movies ever, undeniably so. Michael Myers masked face is forever engrained in my brain. It is a shame most of the sequels were terrible, though.

Martyrs (2008) martyrs_tp01

Martyrs is the kind of movie that chews you up then spits you out, it’s such a beautiful and compelling film. This movie knows pain and suffering, and it’s portrayed on the screen perfectly. Martyrs is almost perfect and simply unforgettable. This movie deserves way more recognition and respect than it gets.

Cannibal Holocaust (1980) cannibal_holocaust_movie

Cannibals are one of my favorite horror subjects…so how could I not like one of the greatest cannibal movies. This is a film that makes you think about humanity and it does it right (certainly better than say, Heart of Darkness.) “I wonder who the real cannibals are?”

Child’s Play (1988) childs-play

Basically, I just love Chucky. I wouldn’t say he’s scary, but he’s funny as hell. I collect dolls and I love the whole killer doll concept. I think it’s cool that Child’s Play took the theme to the next level by making a unique and awesome character like Chucky.

May (2002)  may_movie_poster

May functions as a great horror movie due to the shear weirdness of the title character. Watching her is enthralling. This is probably one of the best “character-driven” horror movies out there.  The ending is pretty controversial – in my opinion, I didn’t hate it but thought it was unnecessary.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) a_nightmare_on_elm_street_1984_theatrical_poster

Freddy is one of the greatest villains ever. He’s basically a manifestation of everything I like in a villain. Fun, charismatic, creative and sadistic. And Nancy sets the standard for what a scream queen should be like.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)texas-chainsaw

Now this movie means a lot to me. It has everything I love in a movie and more. I would plaster Leatherface’s image all over my house if I could. I’d say this is one of the movies that has inspired me the most.

The Human Centipede (2009) human-centipede

Many people give me funny looks for putting this on my list, but oh well. Despite its flaws I think The Human Centipede is pretty good movie. First of all, it does have a horrifically creative idea to work with. Second of all, Dr. Heiter is just plain awesome. The scene where the human centipede first awakens with Heiter standing over them is one of my favorite among other things. In the end, I feel Human Centipede just holds a special place in horror movie history.

Starry Eyes (2014)starry-eyes

This is one of my more recent favorite horror movies. Starry Eyes is a criminally underrated film. This is one of the best films I have seen in a long time. I guess it moves a little slow, but there’s plenty of tension built up to make up for that fact. It really is amazing how far some people will go to be famous…and Starry Eyes showcases that perfectly!

The Collector (2009) collector

A lot of people may think The Collector is typical torture porn, but I’d have to disagree. This movie is good torture porn as well as being one of the few great home invasion horror films (I hate most home invasion movies so this is saying a lot) The Collector knows how to hit the right buttons – the torture/gore scenes are great and I actually felt sorry for the protagonist (a rare thing in horror.)

The Exorcist (1973)the-exorcist-poster

Does The Exorcist really need explaining? I mean it’s one of the greatest horror films for a reason. Demonic possession is another of my favorite subjects in horror – I love seeing possessed people freaking out and going nuts…and this movie will forever be the one who did it best.

Carrie (1976) carrie-1976-movie-poster

Telekinetic powers aside…I think the scariest thing about Carrie is the savage bullying by her peers as well as the abuse by her mother. This shows just how terrible regular people can be. I think portraying that so well is why Carrie is such a great movie.

 

So that’s my list!

The Boy (2016) | Movie Review

boy3

Spoilersss

Greta goes to the UK to escape her abusive boyfriend and get her life straight. She takes a job as a nanny for an old couple, and the son (Brahms) she has to look after turns out to be a doll. Despite the weirdness of this, she still takes the job due to her need for money and sympathy for the couple. Then the creepy stuff starts happening.

The boy had a lot of potential. I mean, the doll does look pretty unsettling and there’s some nice build up in the beginning. But that’s where the positives end – about mid-way through it starts to get really stupid.

Like I said, the start of the film has a nice, slow creepy build up. Greta is afraid of the doll, not just due to its appearance but because weird things/sounds keep happening. The film builds itself up as a ghost/paranormal film throughout most of the movie. And it should have stuck to doing that. (more on this soon!)

Brahms have a list of rules he’s dead set on having Greta follow. At first, she refuses because she’s scared. But then Brahms makes her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (her fav) and she feels he might not be so bad after all. This is where the movie starts to go downhill.

Seeing Greta following the rules and trying to appease Brahms was a bit stupid. Things get worse when her abusive ex-boyfriend shows up (he just walks in uninvited, couldn’t she have just called the police?)

Soon we get to the big twist of the movie: Brahms isn’t a ghost boy, he’s a grown man that lives in the walls. The scene where he first comes bursting through was really cool, I must admit. But the twist itself irritated me. I guess I just wanted a ghost/creepy doll story. Brahms turning out to be a rapist/weird guy just wasn’t what I wanted for this movie.

Still, I’d say the movie’s watchable enough.

2.5/5